tl;dr black powder and gunpowder must be under pressure to properly deflagrate, and they’re unassuming
They are cheap, easy to build and inconspicuous. And as the explosions this week at the Boston Marathon show, pressure cooker bombs can be devastatingly effective weapons.
But why would someone place a bomb inside a common kitchen implement? As we explained two years ago in an article about the increased use of pressure cookers (for cooking, not bombs):
“It works using basic principles of science: Water normally boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit — and doesn’t get hotter. But under pressure, it boils at about 242 F and stays there. Raising the boiling point lets the food cook at the higher temperature, which cuts cooking time by two-thirds or more.”
The same principle that increases the boiling point inside a pressure cooker also can be used to amplify the force of an explosive.
As NPR science reporter Geoffrey Brumfiel notes, “If you seal a pressure cooker, the steam builds up in the vessel. It helps to raise the temperature and cook food, but sometimes when the cooker fails, you get a very energetic release.”
tl;dr they did something; so can you
“Forced marches” or “humps” are a regular part of military training, brisk walking over tough terrain while carrying gear that could help a soldier survive if stranded alone. These soldiers, participating in “Tough Ruck 2013,” were doing the 26 miles of the Boston Marathon to honor comrades killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, or lost to suicide and PTSD-related accidents after coming home.
When the explosion went off, Fiola and his group immediately went into tactical mode. “I did a count and told the younger soldiers to stay put,” Fiola says. “Myself and two other soldiers, my top two guys in my normal unit, crossed the street about 100 yards to the metal scaffoldings holding up the row of flags. We just absolutely annihilated the fence and pulled it back so we could see the victims underneath. The doctors and nurses from the medical tent were on the scene in under a minute. We were pulling burning debris off of people so that the medical personnel could get to them and begin triage.”
Once the victims were transported away for further medical care, Fiola and the others stood guard around the blast area. “We switched to keeping the scene safe, quarantining the area and preventing people from entering. There was a guy behind me covered, just covered, in his own blood, and I started to smell some smoke. I turn around to look and he’s actually on fire, from a piece of whatever caused the explosion. I saw the smoke coming from his pocket so I reached in and pulled it out. It was his handkerchief, on fire.”
tl;dr maybe if you’re getting legit raped
Starting this week, Chicago police are changing their responses to 911 calls. They’ll no longer come right away to reports of things like criminal damage to property, vehicle thefts, garage burglaries, or other crimes in which the suspect is no longer on the scene, and the victim isn’t in immediate danger.
The move will free up the equivalent of 44 police officers a day for patrol duties.
CBS 2′s Jim Williams spoke to some Chicagoans who think it’s the wrong move for the police.
On the block where burglars broke into a home on Christmas Day, Carmen Curio has a strong opinion on the city’s new 911 response plan.
“I think that’s ridiculous. I think if there’s a burglary, they’ve got to come. It’s what we pay for. They have to come,” she said.
img by Max Slowik
img by Max Slowik
While leaving Die Less World HQ the other night I had a Die Less experience. As I walked around the front of my truck there was a pile of broken glass where my window should have been. I was pretty surprised because I don’t leave valuables in my car, ever –years of living near Detroit will teach you that lesson. With no valuables visible from the outside, I’m not sure what attracted the thieves to break in. And it was only my truck, none of the other vehicles on the block were molested. I have some ideas now about why, but they’re pretty thin.
In their best effort to find something valuable, they did rifle through the center console, the glove box and some papers. There were a few things of minor value there: my insurance paper work, my vehicle registration (including a registration sticker I’d not yet applied) and some miscellaneous crap. None of those items were taken.
All of this got me thinking; If the person(s) who broke into my car were so inclined, they could have a pretty good start to an identity theft profile. They would have had my name, my address, my insurance policy number, and access to my driving record. Not enough to immediately turn into a false identity, but probably 80% of the necessary information.
Since then I’ve sterilized the inside of my car. There is no identifying paperwork in the truck. All of that is in my wallet. Now on the one hand I’ve just made it so that if the wallet is lost or stolen the door to identity theft is wide open. On the other hand, it’s a wallet, that’s where an identity is kept, so I’d be screwed regardless. Sterilizing the vehicle at least reduces my exposure. When you consider that cars are often left unattended for hours at a time, I can’t see a good argument for not sterilizing a vehicle.
Finally, as I started examining the idea of limiting my exposure I realized I had been making a terrible mistake. For years I’ve kept a spare key to my house and car in my wallet. Think about that. I carried around keys to everything I owned in my wallet; with my license, which has my address printed right on the front. If it were stolen that would be an invitation for the wrong kind of person to come help themselves. Sometimes I marvel at the blind spots that develop around convenience.
I did the getaway driver part. (img by Drimagez)
- Get the plate number
- Make and model of the other vehicle
- Description of the driver (and anyone else)
- Note the time
I was involved in a hit-and-run the other day. The hit part, not the run part. All said and done, it was the best possible hit-and-run conceivable, except the runner got away (for now).
This can and does happen to people every day, and the results can vary between petty inconvenience and life-altering event.
There are many things you can’t control in a hit-and run, but if you can, those four things are more important than anything else.
That being said, there should probably be:
0. Don’t panic. Open your eyes and look around. Is anyone bleeding? Crying? Take care of that shit first.
Assuming nobody is bleeding, nobody is crying, get the plate number and the other details if possible. Those are going to be what the police need to follow through on your report.
And yes, you need to report the crime.
Despite the fact that the running vehicle was totally nicer than my car, looking at the damage, for a minute I thought, Shit, I don’t need to get anyone else involved with this. What about my insurance? It’s not really a big deal.
The problem with that line of thought is that you don’t know if it is a big deal or not, and you can’t, because the other party left. Maybe that car is stolen, maybe it’s fleeing the scene of some other crime, maybe it’s just some kid out joyriding—but you can’t assume that it isn’t a big deal. You gotta call the cops.
Because in a movie, that’s the scene where the plucky kid, fresh from being ‘napped, kicks the steering wheel to cause an accident and draw attention to his situation.
Of course, this was in real life, so the driver was all over the road daytime drinking and didn’t want to lose his license, and hit a stopped car with not one but two people who got the plate and the time, which was next another car that got the plate, the make and the model, while in front of the fire chief. Who also got the plate.
Best possible hit-and-run.
Driver description? Looked like a tinted fucking window.
tl;dr it isn’t Department of Arming Mexican Drug Lords and Narcoterrorists,
Interestingly enough, the M16 “in the white” like that means it’s probably homemade. The M204 grenade launcher and US military handguard, on the other hand… (img by dead link)
@WSJ Law Blog:
As Evan Perez reported in the WSJ last month, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been thinking about turning its unwieldy seven-word name into something a little snappier. At the time, he wrote that Violent Crime Bureau was a candidate.
Now, quietly, the name change has happened—at least a little bit. For a few days now, the bureau has featured the new name at the top of its home page (atf.gov), just below the old name. The site’s top banner reads, “Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Explosives / The Violent Crime Bureau.”
The new name doesn’t have any legal status yet. Asked about changing names Wednesday, ATF acting director B. Todd Jones said, “That’s a concept that we batted around.” He added that the agency was focused on returning to its fundamental mission and said, “How it’s labeled is less important than what it does.”
The Violent Crime Bureau moniker reflects the agency’s ambition to take the lead in tackling violent-crime outbreaks in big cities such as Philadelphia that have seen an increase in murders and drug-related shootings. The agency’s current name is something of an anachronism because it brings fewer than a hundred alcohol and tobacco cases a year. And its reputation as a firearms regulator took a hit because of the Fast and Furious scandal, the subject of a new report from the Justice Department’s inspector general.
Read @WSJ Law Blog.